China isn’t exactly a friendly environment for Christians. The communist nation has been accused of numerous human rights abuses against Christians, and the Bible was banned for a time. However, the nation seems to be tolerating the faith for the time being.
Oh, and there have been a reported 100,000 people converting to Christianity each year. That happened too. Mission Network News reports:
“Then we met with leaders for dinner that night, and we asked the pastors there, ‘How many baptisms did you have last year? How many new converts did you have in your city?’ [Erik Burklin] then gave us an overview of what God is doing in their whole province. He was proceeding to explain to us that they have up to 100,000 new believers on the average every year…. That’s unheard of.”
Additionally, a member of the central government donated a large sum to help a church in Nanjing.
“God is still in the business of changing lives, and He’s in the business of building His Church,” Erik Burklin of China Partner says. “Like Jesus said to Peter, ‘On this rock I will build my church.’ When He said that, He said, ‘I will build my church.’ Not, ‘You Christians build my church,’ but, ‘I will.’”
That’s something Burklin realized is happening in China on a recent visit. He visited the Union Theological Seminary in the city of Nanjing where a new chapel had just built and is set to open next month.
“When we asked the leadership there, ‘How in the world were you able to finance it?’ because for many years they were not able to finish the construction of it, they said, ‘The Central Government gave us a donation, an equivalent of 50 million Renminbi,’ which is $7.3 million U.S. dollars,” Burklin says.
Despite the human rights abuses in the not so distant past, people are flocking to the Chinese churches.
This isn’t surprising. After a disaster, people swarm churches. They’re not there merely for charity or disaster relief services, but for something much more important. They go because they know they should be thankful to a merciful God.
In China, that has been ramped up due to the church’s troubled history with the communist nation, yet Christians hold strong despite it. People see that the faith holds, and so they begin to get curious.
They ask questions and learn about Christ’s own difficulties and ultimate fate on the cross, only to be resurrected. With all they have seen, and how the tide has shifted in their country, it would be hard not to see divine providence at work.
If only more people in our own nation would see the same.